Placement Testing Services

 

 

Compass Placement Testing Information

(Scroll down to see the testing schedule)

High School and GED Graduates entering college, MUST either take a College Placement Test (Compass) or present their ACT/SAT test scores to the College.  Scores from either the Compass or ACT/SAT are used to place the new student in English, math and reading classes. Test results guide the college in determining if the student should be placed in college-level (100+ level courses) or in developmental (remedial) courses (under 100 level courses).  Thus, one's placement and performance on the Compass or ACT/SAT is very important and plays a key role in where freshmen students begin their course work.

NOTE:  If you have a ACT or SAT score that is less than 3 years old, you DO NOT have to take the Compass Placement Test


What is the Compass Placement Test?

 The Compass placement assessment has sections in writing, reading, basic numerical skills, and elementary algebra. Assessment results determine the type math, reading, and English courses you should take when enrolled in long certificate or associate degree curricula. Compass results are provided to you when you complete the exam.  You are encouraged to visit a counselor after receiving your results. A counselor will help you understand the meaning of your placement scores.

     
 Compass Schedule          Test Exemptions       What is Tested on Compass?
       
           START Here                        More Test Prep                                                              
 
    Retest Policy          Compass Study Guide                                                          


More Compass Information

Must I take the Compass assessment before I register for classes? 

  • If you wish to enroll as a full-time or part-time student, you must complete the entire Compass placement assessment unless you are exempt because:
  • Your SAT scores equal or exceed 480 verbal and 256 math and are no more than 3 years old after high school graduation.
  • Your Act composite, math, and English scores equal or exceed 20 (no more than 3 years old after high school graduation).
  • You already have an associate degree or higher.
  • You will transfer degree creditable college level math or English courses here. Your transcripts must arrive prior to the beginning of the term in which you plan to enroll. However, you still must take the Reading section of the assessment.
  • You listed No Collegiate Award as your educational goal on your admission application.
  • You chose a short certificate program having no English or math requirements in a major not leading to an associate degree.
  • You completed developmental courses at another college within three years of your enrollment here.
  • You wish to audit a class.
  • You already took the Compass placement assessment within the last 3 years. (If so, official scores must be received by our Admissions Office.)
  • You will enroll as a transient student.
  • You will be dually enrolled here and in high school while taking English or math courses.
  • All RN / LPN applicants must, at a minimum, take the Compass Reading assessment (without exception).
  • Please schedule your assessment session before visiting a counselor to register for classes.  

Is there a fee for taking this assessment?

There is no fee for an initial compass assessment. The re-test fee is $8, payable by check, cash, money order, or major credit cards. (See test administrator.)


Placement Test Exemptions:

Placement test exemptions are authorized after the following conditions are met:

    -Students who have taken the ACT or SAT will be placed in English, Math, and Reading Courses based on their score in each area. 
    -Transfer students or returning students who have already completed English Composition I and Intermediate Algebra or higher are not required to undergo placement assessment in these areas; however, placement testing for reading may be required. 
    -Senior citizens and other non-award seeking majors who are taking classes for vocational or personal reasons only, so long as they are not enrolled in more that four (4) semester credit hours per semester and their total hours completed does not exceed twelve (12)   semester credit hours. 
    -Students who have already been awarded an associate degree or higher. 
    -Students taking courses for audit only.
    -Transient students.



Testing Schedules & Locations:

Birmingham Campus

Bessemer Campus

Mondays – 1pm

Mondays – 9am          

Tuesdays – 9am and 6pm

Wednesdays – 9am

Wednesdays – 1pm

Thursdays – 1pm and 6pm

Thursdays – 9am  

First Saturdays– The first Saturday of each month

Leon Kennedy Student Center, 
Room F 221 (2nd floor)

Building A, Services Center
Room A 182    

 (205) 929-6385 or 2113

   (205) 929-3419

 

Returning Students--Retesting Requirements:

All returning students whose placement scores are older than three (3) years must retest unless they have already completed English Composition I (ENG 101) and Intermediate Algebra (MTH100).

Testing Fees:

There is no fee for initial placement tests. However, students must have submitted an application for enrollment to the Admissions Office and must present photo identification at the time of testing.  Students needing special accommodations for testing should contact the Counseling and Assessment department at the campus on which the testing is taking place.

Test dates are scheduled on a regular basis through the Assessment Center at each campus. 

COMPASS Retest Policy:    

Pursuant to guidelines of State Board Policy 902.01, students are given one opportunity to retest. There is a charge of $8.00 to retake the COMPASS test. Students placing in developmental courses are advised to register for those courses and consult with the developmental education faculty for retest recommendations. Students should complete at least one semester of a development class prior to retesting.

VISIT www.act.org/compass/sample/ for sample COMPASS placement test questions.  VISIT www.testprepreview.com/ for online resources to aid in test preparation.

(205) 929-6385Leon Kennedy Student Center - Room F 221 (205) 929-3419Services Center - Room A 182VISIT  for sample COMPASS placement test questions.  VISIT  for online resources to aid in test preparation.

What is meant by developmental course sequences?Based on your Compass Test, ACT or SAT scores (if not older than 3 years), you may be required to take one or more developmental college preparatory classes.  Developmental tracks are detailed as follows: MTH 090 TO MTH 098 to MTH 100 and above MTH090 to MTH091 to MTH MTH 116 (non-transferrable track for some select majors.)  Use caution when following this track.  MTH 116 does not transfer to a state four year college / university. ENG092 to ENG101 and above Lawson State no longer requires students to take developmental reading courses.  However, all students must take RDG114 (a college level critical thinking course).  All students anticipating that they will graduate from Lawson State must take this course. Are other resources available to help me prepare?Yes.  Expanded Compass subject area study guides and other resources are available at  www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html. Must I take the Compass assessment if I only want to take courses if I enroll as a non-degree (occupational enhancement or personal enrichment) admission status?You may enroll in 1-4 credit hours during your first semester. You must take the placement assessment if you enroll the following term if you enter a program of study leading to an associate degree or wish to take courses creditable towards an associate degree.


Individualized Section Reviews

 

Writing In the writing portion of COMPASS, you will be asked to proofread one to five passages and to choose corrections. Read the instructions and go through the tutorial carefully. Make sure that you understand it before proceeding.  Online preparation assistance is available at: www.act.org/compass/sample/writing.html
 
Reading

You will have from one to five passages to read, and you will answer questions about those passages. The objective is to see how well you understand what you have read. Read the instructions and go through the tutorial carefully.  The COMPASS reading test is very similar to the ASSET reading test.  Online preparation assistance is available at:  www.act.org/compass/sample/reading.html
 
Mathematics

Write your name, date and ID on the scratch paper provided and return it to the test proctor when you are finished. Use the software's calculator or your own ACT approved calculator. Take your time and review each answer before you click that you are done.  You will start at a certain level of mathematics problems. Depending on how you answer, the next question may be harder or easier. You may have as few as five problems to work. Remember that you will not be able to return to previous questions.  Online preparation assistance is available at:  www.act.org/compass/sample/math.html

Writing In the writing portion of COMPASS, you will be asked to proofread one to five passages and to choose corrections. Read the instructions and go through the tutorial carefully. Make sure that you understand it before proceeding.  Online preparation assistance is available at:You will have from one to five passages to read, and you will answer questions about those passages. The objective is to see how well you understand what you have read. Read the instructions and go through the tutorial carefully.  The COMPASS reading test is very similar to the ASSET reading test.  Online preparation assistance is available at:Write your name, date and ID on the scratch paper provided and return it to the test proctor when you are finished. Use the software's calculator or your own ACT approved calculator. Take your time and review each answer before you click that you are done.  You will start at a certain level of mathematics problems. Depending on how you answer, the next question may be harder or easier. You may have as few as five problems to work. Remember that you will not be able to return to previous questions. 

Writing In the writing portion of COMPASS, you will be asked to proofread one to five passages and to choose corrections. Read the instructions and go through the tutorial carefully. Make sure that you understand it before proceeding.  Online preparation assistance is available at:You will have from one to five passages to read, and you will answer questions about those passages. The objective is to see how well you understand what you have read. Read the instructions and go through the tutorial carefully.  The COMPASS reading test is very similar to the ASSET reading test.  Online preparation assistance is available at:Write your name, date and ID on the scratch paper provided and return it to the test proctor when you are finished. Use the software's calculator or your own ACT approved calculator. Take your time and review each answer before you click that you are done.  You will start at a certain level of mathematics problems. Depending on how you answer, the next question may be harder or easier. You may have as few as five problems to work. Remember that you will not be able to return to previous questions.